We’ve all heard that in 2010 China’s General Administration of Press and Publication (中华人民共和国新闻出版总署) started worrying about the purity of “Chinese” and asked the press to rid themselves of the unseemly habit of using English names and abbreviations in their reports. See, for example, this BBC report from December.
But if school gate conversations* are to be believed, there’s a new front in the Chinese purity movement. A fellow parent at my daughter’s Beijing grade school reports that the standard old names in her apartment complex — A座, B座 (i.e. Building A, Building B) — are getting changed. Why? She claims the regulatory authorities are requiring it. No more “English” letters to be used in the naming of buildings, they say. She also says it’s not just her apartment — that she’s heard from friends of this happening elsewhere in Beijing.
I don’t read much news at all, let alone local Beijing news. Has anyone else come across this?
[Update — don’t miss the links in jdmartinsen’s first comment below. They include the proposed regulations and some newspaper articles about them]
During the conversation, thinking of Kellen’s ordered lists post, I asked her, “So what are they replacing it with? Is it 甲，乙?”
Alas, nothing so interesting. She says they now have 东南西北 (east, south, west, north) and some directions in between.
*It’s taken me two years of participation in the daily school-gate-pickup circus — complete with double parked gridlock, shady sausage vendors, and heartfelt reunions at the emotional level of “hostages released after days in captivity” — to be able to find my own equanimity, groove to the cacophony, and just chat obliviously with fellow parents.